Living the essentials

Publish date 01-11-2023

by Rosanna Tabasso

Sharing the summer weeks with kids of different ages, from different backgrounds, after the years of closure due to the pandemic, has once again offered us the possibility of a 360° look at the world of youth. Listening to the difficult stories of many of them makes me think of the fatigue of their young lives which offered them a lot of material well-being but perhaps little emotional security, little listening, few experiences of good. We have had confirmation of the problems of the new generations that are much talked about: fear of the future, isolation, loneliness, aggression, addictions, fragility... So many complexities and so many shades of a darkness in which the time we live in has immersed them. But the thicker the darkness, the more recognizable even the slightest light that turns on becomes; the more difficult the time is, the more hope grows. Meeting the boys and girls has lit a light in this darkness.

I was struck by their attentive faces during the meetings, their interest in the experiences of our lives, their curiosity about the history of the Arsenal of Peace, their questions about faith, about God, about his A very incomprehensible word for them. They share a few days with us and find themselves immersed in a reality that they had not imagined, of which they know neither the concreteness of everyday life nor the motivations and they are struck by it. I see them as a blank page on which little or nothing of the essentials that can help you face life have yet been written.

With all their fragility and efforts, however, they are available to welcome the novelty of a proposal, to know its essential elements. They are intrigued by the dimension of faith, available to search and perhaps to let themselves be searched. They observe us, whether we are serious or not. If, despite the smallness of what we are, we are credible and, if they feel loved, they follow us. They are available to walk a little bit of the road with us, committing themselves to service and also to the search for the meaning of life and of God. They grasp the dimension of brotherhood as the essential tool for living according to the logic of God. They need those who transmit to them a Known God, who fills their voids. On the other hand, how can they suddenly trust a God they don't know?

Faith is born from a personal encounter, it grows if you begin a one-on-one dialogue with God, if some of his Words begin to speak to the heart, if the Gospel that you see lived by others becomes familiar to you too and forms a new way of thinking and acting. To bring young people back to the meaning of life we must have the courage to start again with them from the beginning. Ernesto Olivero wrote in recent days: «I am emptied so that You can fill me with You». There is a need to make a void so that God finds space for him and fills us with him, the younger ones, but also us adults. We must have the courage, we first, not to discount our beliefs, but to go deeply in embracing the mentality of the Gospel, in order to be able to help children and young people to go deeper themselves. We must have the courage to enter into the logic of the brotherhood that lives and therefore announces. We must have the courage to go against the current without provocation or ostentation but out of a need for love.

Every week with them I asked myself: Where is the hope with its signs? I believe that the sign is this void, to be filled with what is essential for living, from the Gospel, from Jesus, from knowing that we are loved by God who is the Father and makes us capable of loving. Experience brotherhood with young people, which is the good earth where the seed sown can grow. Living together a possible good, within everyone's reach, to experience that we are made to love. Starting again together, here is the sign of hope that makes me say with the psalmist: «The plan of the Lord endures forever, the plans of his heart for all generations» (Ps 33,11).

Rosanna Tabasso
NP August / September 2023

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